New energy drink 'zaps' JBLM Warrior Zone
February 10, 2012
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation might have always been synonymous with serving troops, but the staff at Joint Base Lewis-McChord might have taken it to a new level.
Toby Bartley, creative director for JBLM FMWR, calls it being "zapped."
"We wanted to do something different at the Warrior Zone and it was actually our (information technology) manager who found a company in Las Vegas that does energy drinks," Bartley said. "We figured, 'rather than just pushing out someone else's energy drinks, let's do some of our own.' The money that goes into this can go back into the MWR fund, which will go back into serving servicemembers and their families."
Which gave birth to "Zap," an 8.5 ounce drink named in honor of all the gaming that goes on at JBLM's Warrior Zone, which is the only place the drink is currently sold.
FMWR getting into the energy drink business, albeit in a small way, was more logical than it might sound. Statistics show that more than half of American energy drinks are consumed by those under 24, and 2011 sales almost topped $800 million.
Bartley said FMWR provided formula input to the beverage maker, and said while the directorate didn't want to reinvent the wheel in comparison to other popular energy drink brands, there was something to be said for a little "less is more."
"It tastes great, and we thought that was key," Bartley said. "It has slightly less of an aftertaste; less of a bite than (other energy drinks.) Otherwise it's very similar ."
Zap is exclusive to JBLM Lewis North, but FMWR may "zap" all of their sales facilities at JBLM depending on its initial performance. Bartley also said how long it stays on the shelves anywhere on the installation will depend on how quickly the 240-can initial delivery sells.
"It's on a trial basis right now," he said. "Depending on how quickly those go we may get more."
He said FMWR didn't have a specific sales target to deem the idea "successful," but if sales are good enough to continue, sugar-free Zap, as well as energy shots, could be waiting in the wings.
"They're already drinking energy drinks," Bartley said, "so we wanted to figure out how some of their money could get in their MWR fund. Who knows how big it could get?"
Specialist Jacob Dejno, a Soldier from 9th Finance Company, was one of a few 593rd Sustainment Brigade Soldiers who said he enjoyed Zap during a lunch at Warrior Zone last week. He said though he was a bit disappointed with the price (all brands of energy drinks at Warrior Zone are $3.50,) he said the taste of Zap holds up in competition with the rest.
Dejno also appreciates that the drink is a reinvestment into services for servicemembers, including the young demographic that is making energy drinks popular in the first place.
"We liked it," he said of his lunchtime group. "It's not as strong as some energy drinks and it really doesn't leave a bad, copper aftertaste either. Any profit made from this can go back into MWR, which sponsors this whole thing. It's an easy decision."